Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies. – Nietzsche
What does that mean?
This is a quote from a guy who also famously said “There are no facts, only interpretations.” From that statement, I believe it is safe to presume that he wasn’t that fond of absolutes.
Convictions are very absolute. In many cases, they are more about belief than facts. This basis makes the convictions unassailable by anything, including the Truth.
Lies, on the other hand, are rarely based on anything, and can usually be overturned by simple exposure to the truth. This makes lies a relatively easy opponent to defeat.
Based on the above paragraphs, his statement that convictions are more dangerous to the truth than lies seems pretty straight forward, and more easily understood.
Why is examining your convictions important?
What do you stand for? What do you believe in? If you are having trouble answering these questions, or having difficulty explaining why, then you might want to reconsider them. To me, difficulty says that you don’t understand yourself very well, and your conviction even less.
This test isn’t to shake your faith, but to help you understand it. What you believe and why you believe, that is part of the core of who you are. That core should be well understood and well defined. If it isn’t, do you really know who you are?
However, if you can take a stand and convince yourself, that is a different matter. But, per the quote, if you have convictions which are not based in truth, you will have a hard time accepting the truth, even when it is presented to you in a convincing manner.
Thus, taking time to consider your convictions, to examine and test them, is important. Not only for your sake, but for the sake of all the others who seek you for guidance, assistance, or advice. They have expectations of you, based on truth. What will you give them?
Where can I apply this in my life?
This is going to be a very introspective post. Where in your life do you hold convictions which are in contradiction to the truth? That gets back to the heart of the belief of author of the quote. What are actual facts, and how does one tell if they are actually true?
Take the theory of Global Warming. There are credentialed scientists who insist that the data shows not only are we warming, but that it is man made, and that man can reverse it. Other scientists, looking at the same, or very similar data, come to other conclusions, especially about the cause any measured warming and what man can do about it.
We have data, yet they each interpret them in a different manner. This results in very different conclusions. Unfortunately, many people have joined one camp or the other and are convinced (hold a strong conviction) that their side is correct.
Therein lies the problem. The truth has ceased to matter. The argument has ceased to be scientific (except around the edges, where people snipe about methods and validity of certain data sets) and become a debate of belief, of convictions, of theology.
Whatever the truth may be, it is now lost. It was trampled as the theologians of each side tried to rally the troops and surge forward. The battle has raged in earnest since the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and few minds have been changed once they became convinced of the correctness of their side.
If you have convictions one way or the other, any truth which dares to try to exert itself must be destroyed to save your convictions. And that is where things begin to go badly for all. When the truth is attacked because it doesn’t fit within our convictions, we have all lost.
Whether you put much stock in Nietzsche or not, I believe that this quote has a place in our toolbox. If we know ourselves and can present our convictions with facts and truth, and withstand the challenges of other views, we can be relatively certain we are right. At least for now.
Yes, there will be people who lie to us. But our own inner convictions will tell us the truth is a lie if we allow it to happen.
From: Twitter, @frethinkaur
confirmed at :http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/friedrichn124906.html
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